Avestēe Women’s Imaging Center


Now that 3D mammography is available at our facility, you may have some questions. We’ve prepared this short Q&A to address concerns you may have.

What is a 3D mammography breast exam?

3D mammography is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection that can be done in conjunction with a traditional 2D digital mammogram.

During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over your breast, taking multiple breast images. Then, a computer produces a 3D image of your breast tissue in one millimeter slices, providing greater visibility for the radiologist to see breast detail in a way never before possible. They can scroll through images of your entire breast like pages of a book.

The additional 3D images make it possible for a radiologist to gain a better understanding of your breast tissue during screening and the confidence to reduce the need for follow-up imaging.

Why is there a need for tomosynthesis breast exams? What are the benefits?

With conventional digital mammography, the radiologist is viewing all the complexities of your breast tissue in a one flat image. Sometimes breast tissue can overlap, giving the illusion of normal breast tissue looking like an abnormal area.

By looking at the breast tissue in one millimeter slices, the radiologist can provide a more confident assessment. In this way, 3D mammography finds cancers missed with conventional 2D mammography. It also means there is less chance your doctor will call you back later for a “second look,” because now they can see breast tissue more clearly.

What is the difference between a screening and diagnostic mammogram?

A screening mammogram is recommended annually by the American Cancer Society for women starting at age 40 without any symptoms. A diagnostic mammogram is performed when the patient has a breast complaint, such as a palpable mass or nipple discharge. A physician’s order is required for a diagnostic mammogram, but not for a screening mammogram.

What should I expect during the 3D mammography exam?

3D mammography complements standard 2D mammography and is performed at the same time with the same system. There is no additional compression required, and it only takes a few seconds longer for each view.

Who can have a 3D mammography exam?

It was approved by the FDA in 2011 for all women, in both the screening and diagnostic mammography settings.

How much does a 2D/3D combo mammogram cost?

Insurance: A small payment will be collected at the time of service for the 2D/3D combination mammogram. This will be filed to your insurance, and if covered, you will be reimbursed any difference after all claims have been processed. Cigna, Medicare, and Medicaid all cover the 2D/3D combination at 100%. We will not collect from patients with these plans. Please contact Avestēe with questions.